Independent Think Tank Finds California’s GHG Targets Can Likely Be Met at No Net Cost to Consumers


January 19, 2006

Contact: Daniel Chartier
202-408-9260 |

Independent Think Tank Finds California’s GHG Targets Can Likely Be Met at No Net Cost to Consumers

WASHINGTON, D.C. — “Based on our independent analysis of greenhouse gas mitigation (GHG) options for the State of California, we conclude that Governor Schwarzenegger’s goal of reducing GHG emissions to 2000 levels by 2010 can be met at no net cost to California consumers,” said Ned Helme, Center for Clean Air Policy (CCAP) President at a press briefing from Washington, DC today. “As the fifth largest economy and 13th largest emitter of GHG in the world, California’s progress in emission reduction will have significant implications internationally and place the State at the forefront of efforts to battle global warming.”

The study was financed by the Richard & Rhoda Goldman Fund, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Energy Foundation, with additional support from the California Energy Commission. CCAP, a Washington, DC-based research group specializing in market based solutions to environmental challenges, examined a full range of methods currently under consideration by the State to reduce pollutants that cause global warming. CCAP’s analysis calculated the cost to implement reduction measures in the agricultural/forestry, cement and transportation sectors, and reviewed work done for the California Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research program for methane and high global warming potential (GWP) gases (PFCs, HFCs and SF6).

“We compared the energy cost savings projected to be achieved by two of the key greenhouse gas reducing programs underway in California – the GHG standards for car emissions and the new energy efficiency standards – to the costs of the measures we have analyzed. In addition to likely meeting the Governor’s 2010 target at no net cost, we conclude that the 2020 target can likely be met with consumers enjoying savings in gasoline costs and energy bills in 2020. This is great news for California consumers and for the global climate,” CCAP President Ned Helme said.

Specifically, combining cost-effective measures analyzed by the Center with measures already underway in California will achieve a total reduction of 51 MMTCO2e (million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent). This represents 88 percent of the estimated 58 MMTCO2e reduction required to meet the 2010 target set by the Governor. Additional cost effective reductions are expected to be available in the oil refining and power sectors, which produced more than 25% of California’s GHG emissions in 2002. These reductions would allow the 2010 target to be easily exceeded. Seventy-seven percent of the reductions targeted for 2010 have a cost below $10 per ton reduced, while 28 percent of the reductions result in net cost savings.

For 2020, measures analyzed by CCAP (58 MMTCO2e) combined with measures already underway in California (67 MMTCO2e) can achieve a total of 125 MMTCO2e out of an expected emission reduction requirement of 145 MMTCO2e. This represents 86 percent of the total reductions required to meet the target. Of the measures analyzed by CCAP, 73 percent (42.5 MMTCO2e) have a cost below $10 per ton reduced and 36 percent (20.8 MMTCO2e) of the reductions result in net cost savings. Additional cost effective reductions that are expected to be available in the oil refining and power sectors should assure achievement of the target.

On an average basis the reductions identified by CCAP are expected to cost $5.25 per ton in 2010 and $5.77 per ton in 2020. In 2010, after subtracting the cost of these measures (approximately $154 million) from the cost savings expected from the vehicle GHG standards and energy efficiency programs ($762 million), the net cost to consumers is expected to be zero. A sample of measures analyzed for various sectors includes the following: